Betania, Georgia, August 21, 2018
The Georgian Orthodox Church lost one of its beloved spiritual fathers but gained a Heavenly intercessor on Friday when Archimandrite Lazar (Abashidze), a zealous minister of the Church of Christ, champion of the purity of the Orthodox faith, subtle Church writer and publicist, and critic of Church modernism and ecumenism reposed in the Lord, as pravoslavie.ru reports.
Archimandrite Lazar, a native of Abkhazia, was born on August 25, 1939. After receiving his secular education, he was tonsured into monasticism. He was later transferred to Betania Monastery, where, thanks to Archimandrite John (Maisuradze) and Schema-Archimandrite John (Mkheidze), he established a concentrated monastic prayer life.
Betania Monastery was the first male monastery in Georgia allowed to be reopened by the soviet authorities, in 1978. In 1990, Fr. Lazar painted a chapel in honor of the holy Georgian Queen Tamar. It was there that he was awarded the honorary title of archimandrite, having served as the abbot of Betania until 1997. At that time, Fr. Lazar wrote about asceticism, prayer, pagan religions, and ecumenism.
Archimandrite Lazar was the author of a number of soul-profiting books and articles for Orthodox Christians of the late 20th-early 21st century. His works are based on the teachings of the Holy Fathers and ordinances of the Orthodox Church. Fr. Lazar often and fearlessly denounced the spiritual vices that infect modern man, such as occultism, Hinduism, yoga, and others.
Fr. Lazar held an especially irreconcilable position towards the heresy of ecumenism. In 1997, he joined other abbots and monastics in petitioning His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II to withdraw the Georgian Orthodox Church from the ecumenistic World Council of Churches, which the Church did in the same year.
Archimandrite Lazar was buried yesterday. May his memory be eternal!
For examples of Fr. Lazar’s fiery writing, see his article regarding Georgia’s movement towards the European Union, “The Antichrist is Coming into Georgia,” and his letter to the Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church regarding 2016’s Council of Crete.
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